The Game That Could Have Been the Next Angry Birds But Wasn't...
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If you've been around long enough to remember the humble beginnings of Angry Birds you'll remember a game that was fun but nothing too too spectacular. But it got viral in the early days of the iPhone and the team behind it made a lot of good decisions that helped it become, and stay, a household name for many many years.
Not many games got that sort of virality after, but in 2020, one game did - Among us.
Among us went viral in October of 2020, deep into lockdown season, thanks to gamers streaming it on Twitch.
The game wasn't completely unknown before though. According to our estimates, Among us was averaging 1.2M downloads per month in 2019.
But downloads started rising exponentially as lockdowns started. Downloads doubled by July, then tripled in August, and then ballooned to 70M in October.
The majority of downloads came from Google Play with the US, India, and Brazil being the largest countries. Each had aabout a 10% share. That's not a big surprise for a game.
Success didn't last too long though. Downloads dropped to 24M by January of 2021 and ended 2021 in the single-digit millions. 2022 was pretty much the same, and in 2023 downloads got cut by half again.
Why? lack of change. The game didn't evolve much in this time, the community didn't remain engaged, and the company didn't push beyond enjoying the viral success.
Also, the money. But before we get to that let's total it all up. Our estimates show Among us made its way into 550M devices since 2020.
Revenue followed downloads pretty tightly.
Before going viral, the game was earning about $25K per month. And that's net which means what InnerSloth, the makers of Among us, got to keep after store fees.
Fast forward to October of 2020 and our estimates show revenue shot up to $9.7M. That's an increase of 38,700%, in case you're into big numbers. Just wow!
But like downloads, the fun didn't continue... By January revenue dropped to $2.9M and by mid-2021, revenue plummeted to just $228K. Yes, hundreds not millions. And the fall didn't stop there - by the end of 2023, revenue dropped below $100K.
I'll put on my judgy hat and say this was a missed opportunity.
Going viral is a combination of luck and having a good product, but turning temporary virality into sustained success requires a lot of hard work. Your app may never go viral, but if it does, you better be ready.
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All figures included in this report are estimated. Unless specified otherwise, estimated revenue is always net, meaning it's the amount the developer earned after Apple and Google took their fee.